You may call it realpolitik, or call it being adult and picking battles you can win, but I find it difficult to be politically adult if it means turning a blind eye to painful human realities.
What good are all these wonderful Liberal values, NDP values if you can't stand up when it really counts? Words are just words. It's action that counts. Heidi Rathjen, Ecole polytechnique student
Layton and Ignatieff's mealy mouthed justifications for allowing an un-whipped vote on the long gun registry mean squat to the families of murdered mothers and daughters, sons and fathers.
When Liberals were climbing in the polls, on April 2 2009 an energized Ignatieff declared "We won't let him!" put an end to the long-gun registry. 8 months and sagging polls have drained Ignatieff's bravado. Last spring Layton would only say it wasn't his party's practice to whip private members bills.
Without a doubt the fallen and the survivors of Marc Lepine's attack 20 years ago are far braver than the MP's you'll find voting Yea on Bill C-391 or their leaders.
The latest statistics available from the Firearms Centre indicate there are more than six and a half million non-restricted firearms (rifles and shotguns) listed in the registry. Why scrap this hard-earned data collection when you've already gone through the effort? The sunk costs may have been expensive, but maintaining all the activities of the firearms centre is a mere seventy some odd million a year - it's peanuts.
Polytechnique shooting survivor backs gun control (CBC, Friday December 4, 2009)
Rathjen said she has spoken to some of the families of the Polytechnique victims and said they are "devastated, terrified that this is going to go through."
She had scathing words for Ignatieff and NDP Leader Jack Layton, saying they demonstrated a "complete lack of leadership on this issue, allowing a free vote on what they absolutely knew was a disguised government bill."
Lessons of the Montreal Massacre (The Star, Saturday December 5 2009)
Columbine. Dawson College. Virginia Tech. There've been so many school massacres since Dec. 6, 1989, we've grown disturbingly used to them. The Montreal Massacre was different. Lepine had a specific target: women.
Most women who are murdered are killed by their husbands, lovers or exes. Many are killed in rages - there is a fight; the man finds his hunting gun.
Additional stories appearing on this the 20th anniversary of the slaying of 14 young women:
- 'A slap in the face' for victims (Ingrid Peritz, The Globe and Mail, Sunday December 6 2009) 5.8% - Percentage of victims of handgun-related homicides in 2008 who were women; 41.4% - Percentage of victims of rifle- and shotgun-related homicides in 2008 who were women
- Urgent need to defend gun control (Wendy Cukier - President, Coalition for Gun Control, The Star, Sunday December 6 2009) More than 20 Liberal and NDP politicians, some spooked by a well-financed, American-style campaign targeting specific ridings, backed the Conservatives over the objections of virtually every public safety organization in the country.
- A survivor speaks (Ingrid Peritz, The Globe and Mail, Sunday December 6 2009) I'm stunned that they want to modify the firearms registry. A firearm is a dangerous object. We register cars and need a licence for them. I don't see why it's scandalous to ask people to register and get a licence for firearms.